With regard to the closure of services at Ilkeston Community Hospital, the reason is clear, lack of finance.
The cause of this lack of finance, affecting not just the NHS, but the public sector in general, is the appetite of the present Conservative and previous Labour governments for Private Finance Initiatives, or PFIs. There are currently 717 PFI contracts, applied to the provision of hospitals. police stations, schools, and other public sector buildings.
The Guardian newspaper, in an article dated the July 5, 2012, estimates that these PFI contracts will ultimately cost £300bn, with repayments to contractors costing £10bn per year by 2017 to 2018.
The week prior to this article in the Guardian, South London Healthcare, which operates three hospitals in the South London area, was placed into administration, after struggling to meet its PFI obligations.
PFI schemes cost the NHS 12 times the capital outlay.
It seems that we are moving towards a situation where we will see police stations without police officers, and hospitals without nurses. Unfortunately, this has already occurred at Ilkeston hospital where three out of four wards have closed, with a question mark over the fourth.
Is Ilkeston hospital being sacrificed in order that the NHS trust can honour its PFI contracts elsewhere, such as at the Royal Derby Hospital?
Following on from George Osborne’s Autumn Statement, I suggest he and this Tory Government stop persecuting the sick and the disabled and focus their attention of re-negotiating these Private Finance Initiatives, which are clearly not giving value for money, and use the money saved to pay for public sector services.
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